Category Archives: Startup

Sound Options wins second annual Synapse Competition


Hamilton, ON (April 9, 2015) – On April 8, Hamilton’s life science community gathered at McMaster Innovation Park to take part in the Synapse Life Science Competition final showcase.

The event showcased ten teams: seven through poster presentations while the top three teams presented their innovations live on stage to a panel of industry experts, competing for over $35,000 in cash and professional resources.

The top three finalists – Avertus, Blue Orchid and Sound Options – each had 20 minutes to impress the judges, which included executives from Amgen Canada, ASK Solutions Inc., Trellis Capital and Johnson & Johnson.

Sound Options was named the grand prize winner for their effective, affordable and convenient sound therapy for people suffering from tinnitus, a hearing condition that produces ringing in the ears. The company took home $15,000 cash, a $5,000 IP package, and a life science specific $5,000 consulting package from SHI Consulting.

Dr. Michael Chrostowski, founder of Sound Options, spoke to the impact that the awarded prizes will have on his company: “Sound Options will be able to benefit from the prizing we received from this competition in so many ways in our immediate future,” he said. “The prizes could not have been more timely. The Synapse competition and the supporting ecosystem are among many reasons why Hamilton is a great place to start a company. We look forward to continuing to grow and providing more tinnitus sufferers with an effective and customized sound therapy.”

The company’s cutting-edge software analyzes an individual’s tinnitus and hearing loss profile to develop a customized sound-therapy treatment that is clinically proven to be more effective than other solutions, and produces results in half the time of the leading competitor.

Blue Orchid and Avertus both tied for second place, each receiving $1,500 cash and a $5,000 IP package courtesy of one of our legal partners Gowlings, Ridout & Maybee, and Sabeta IP, and ANDzyme took home the poster board prize of $500 cash and an introductory meeting and $1,000 consultation package from Willow Tree Capital.

Avertus has created a home based, wireless, brain monitoring and seizure warning system with active dry electrodes. Over 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy and assessment times for treatment can be lengthy. This is because patients often do not realize they are having a seizure, which can lead to brain damage over time or even death. Avertus has designed a comfortable, home-use technology, which would allow physicians to record brain waves (EEG) without requiring extensive, time-consuming and uncomfortable patient preparation.

Blue Orchid has developed the OrchidLift: a compact and portable sit-to-stand lift aimed to provide an affordable, simple solution to lift, transport and assist with patients’ mobility in their own home. Inaccurate handling and lifting of patients by caregivers can put both parties involved at high risk for further injuries. With the aging population, devices that allow the elderly to remain in their own home longer are becoming increasingly important.

Executive Director at Innovation Factory, David Carter, points to the Synapse competition as a testament to the Hamilton’s growing strength in the health and life sciences: “The innovations we saw today have the potential to be life-changing,” says Carter. “I’m thrilled that our region is paying attention to research coming out of the life sciences. Synapse has shown that Hamilton’s life science cluster is thriving and I’m confident we have the supports in place here to help take these ventures to the world stage.”

The seven poster board finalists included: 12 Squared Diagnostics, ANDzyme, Colourimetric Biosensing, DNA Quantifier, Qidni Labs, RotaNovus and Virtual Possibilities. After the top three finalists presented to the audience, the judges deliberated while keynote Niall Wallace, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Infonaut Inc., discussed his own experience building Infonaut from a start-up, to the successful evidence-based infection control company it is today. His talk touched on pitching for investment, what investors look for, and pointers for growing Hamilton’s life science cluster.

The event concluded with Dr. Clive Ward-Able, Executive Director, Amgen Canada, the appointed judge-representative, announcing the winners live on stage.

The Synapse final showcase is the culmination of months of hard work. Back in January, the competition teamed up life science innovators with business and engineering students from McMaster University. Together, each team produced both business and commercialization plans for their ventures. All of the finalists also participated in training sessions to help them complete the plans and fully prepare for the final showcase.

Generous prize contributors included Hamilton Health Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Mohawk College, Bay Area Health Trust, McMaster Innovation Park, Ridout & Maybee LLP, Gowlings LLP, Sabeta IP, SHI Consulting, Willow Tree Capital, and supporting partners included McMaster Industry Liaison Office, Ontario Centres of Excellence, TechAlliance, W Booth School of Engineering, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the City of Hamilton and St. Joseph’s Healthcare.


QReserve launches Collaborative Funding Directory

qreserveHamilton, Ontario, March 31, 2015 — McMaster University startup, QReserve Inc., is happy to announce the launch of their Collaborative Funding Directory as a free resource for researchers and industry to discover funding opportunities in support of collaborative research projects.

“Academia and industry are working together more than ever and our funding atmosphere reflects this, with an increasing number of grant programs requiring some form of collaboration”, say QReserve Inc.’s CEO, Brandon Aubie. “The QReserve Collaborative Funding Directory provides an easy to access, free resource to both academics and industry to explore the multitude of funding opportunities available to them in Canada.”

The QReserve Collaborative Funding has been hand curated from multiple sources to provide a directory of over 50 funding sources uniquely targeted toward collaborative research. All funding sources can be browsed in one location with links to their respective program and sub-program websites for further information. QReserve plans to update the Collaborative Funding Directory on an ongoing basis to continue offering up-to-date information that supports collaborative research.

Browse the QReserve Collaborative Funding Directory online at


About QReserve Inc.

QReserve Inc. was founded in 2014 at McMaster University to support collaborative research. The company provides an open-access online platform for cataloguing and searching research equipment and services across universities, colleges and research institution. QReserve offers a student support program to help universities catalogue resources across research groups and their search platform integrates with existing university websites to provide turn-key institutional resource databases. QReserve currently operates out of the McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, Ontario and has received generous funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence, FedDev, IRAP (Government of Canada).


REfficient Sponsors the Junos Awards Festival



Hamilton, Ontario – February 19, 2015 – REfficient is proud to announce they are a sponsor of the 2015 Juno Awards Festival, Canada’s music awards. The company is sponsoring a stage as part of the Turn It On Streetcrawl on Friday, March 12.

REfficient is a Hamilton-based company that sells used and surplus new commercial grade Audio Video gear as part of its repurposing program. REfficient manages the surplus of large companies and sells it to smaller companies and individuals that can reuse it. The audio video equipment includes speakers, amplifiers, road cases and other gear. Along with REfficient’s telecom division, the company has become the Canadian go-to to find quality equipment at affordable prices. REfficient has customers in nine Canadian provinces, three Canadian territories and 12 other countries.

Hamilton is the 2015 host city of the Junos, Canada’s music awards. This year Hamilton has planned a full week of activities called JunoWeek, including a Turn It On Streetcrawl on Friday evening. REfficient is sponsoring a stage that will feature some of Canada’s most promising artists.

REfficient CEO Stephanie McLarty said the opportunity to support both the local and national music industry was a clear decision, “We have been outfitting local sound engineers and musicians with AV gear since 2012, and so we are absolutely thrilled to support the Junos in our hometown of Hamilton and Canada’s music industry at large,” says McLarty.

About REfficient

REfficient’s transactional marketplace is built on a “triple-win” model, providing large telecom and AV companies a trusted and efficient solution for deriving value from surplus inventory, while offering buyers reliable, often new equipment at savings of 20-50% over traditional sources. This innovative new green model benefits everyone by reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency. You can follow REfficient at @REfficient and

Bruno Venesia
905-544-5000 x5011


Interview with Stephen Dagg of White Flag



stephendaggStephen Dagg has worked in creative director and art director roles in the video game industry at companies like Electronic Arts and SAVA Transmedia where he helped create games such as Army of Two: The 40th Day and Need for Speed: Nitro. Since moving back to Hamilton Stephen has founded White Flag Entertainment (@White_Flag_) and launched mobile game Flippin’ Doo Doo.

Check out the interview with Stephen Dagg below!


How did you get started in the video game industry?

I received an offer to join EA Montreal’s cinematic department from a good friend of mine; we had previously worked together at Mainframe Entertainment in TV and film production.


Why did you move to Hamilton and start White Flag?

I was born in Hamilton and after living all over Canada for tens years I wanted to move closer to family. Hamilton has opportunities that I felt would be beneficial to a gaming company. The tech industry is growing here and schools are starting gaming specific programs. The community here is very supportive and wants to be engaged and be a part of the change we see happening in this city.


What is Flippin’ Doo Doo?

Flippin’ Doo-Doo is much like Flappy Bird or Jet pack Joy Ride. You launch your doo-doo from a cow, in hopes of reaching Farmer Al’s Throne… a toilet! You must pass through obstacles of hay, collecting toilet paper along the way, to out “doo” your friends. The game is silly but fun and addictive and we’re constantly building new features to improve the user experience.




What tools were used to build Flippin’ Doo Doo?

We used many tools and plugins. Most notably Unity (the free version), Photoshop, Sourcetree and Dropbox, along with various tablets and phones for testing.


How has Flippin’ Doo Doo been received so far?

The game has been received quite well. The ratings are fantastic with 4.4 stars and over 4,500 users so far. We believe there is room for us to compete in the market. We must keep optimizing, however, to maximize the potential revenue and continue user engagement.


How is Flippin’ Doo Doo monetized?

The game uses various in-game ad services and in-app purchases to drive monetization. Our economy needs to be rebalanced at present. These new changes should increase sales to hit our revenue target.




How are you marketing Flippin’ Doo Doo?

We use every channel available to bring awareness to the game. We’re still optimizing the game so marketing is low at the moment but getting the numbers right is important before the masses play your game. All social media needs to be used and sharing your experience is important for small independent company to grow our fan base. In app ads are one of the fastest ways to acquire users. Press reviews, bloggers and Youtubers are a huge part in getting the word out to the world. They are instrumental in the success of aps rising to the top of the charts.


How has the experience been building a game and company in Hamilton?

The experience has been fantastic! There has been a lot of support from the community. I’ve met some great people with a lot of talent here and I think we can make something happen!


Any advice to students looking at breaking into the video game industry?

I find you’re always trying to break into the gaming industry! Even after working in the business for over ten years you’re constantly proving yourself. Working hard and having good knowledge is key, but one of the most important things I feel is applying everywhere you can and networking until someone gives you a shot! Sometimes it’s just timing and who you know.




Any advice to others looking at starting an indie video game company?

Having a solid team is probably the biggest point. Understanding the industry is something that people tend to overlook; making the game is the easy part but it’s all the rest that makes it so hard to compete. You must understand this before you jump into the business. Look for funding wherever you can because you will always need more time and money than you think. Learn to handle problems in your production with a smile; as you strive to make the best games you can, passionate disputes with your team-mates can lead to problems in production and may lead to its demise. This is a tough business and you have to really want it to make it happen!


Weever Apps Partners with Xerox



Hamilton, ON — (ReleaseWire) — 02/13/2015 – The term innovation may be a trendy buzzword, but its core meaning – to reinvent, to rethink, to evolve – will always be at the heart of great companies that do great things.

Xerox knows innovation because the company basically invented its principles. The technology revolution, spawned by Xerox and others decades ago, has provided a fertile landscape from which other like-minded companies have grown. One such company is Weever Apps – a mobile solutions company that embraces the principles of innovation.

Specializing in Mobile-First Actionable Data (M-FAD), Weever Apps works with clients globally to help streamline workflows through mobile technologies. At the heart of M-FAD solutions is the mobile experience – apps designed to collect data from the field and provide frontline staff with the right information at the right time.

Document management is a big job, and it’s getting bigger. Xerox develops strategic partnerships with specialized experts to provide the world’s most comprehensive array of workflow solutions.

The Xerox Business Innovation Partner program is a world-class, global initiative that connects some of the brightest companies from around the world in an effort to create solutions that extend the functionality of Xerox products and services.

“The partnership is a natural one,” adds Steve McBride, CEO, Weever Apps. “Both companies embrace the spirit of collaboration and integration. Weever Apps’ technology is built to integrate seamlessly with business software platforms, including Xerox DocuShare.”

Xerox and Weever Apps also share an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction. “We both work with customers through a consultative approach designed to understand client’s unique business challenges and develop cost-effective solutions to overcome them,” says McBride.

Xerox will greatly expand Weever App’s reach through its extensive coast-to-coast world-class sales network. “Xerox has built an exceptional reputation in the business world by implementing document solutions for their customers. We are excited to align our solutions, with their customers challenges,” says McBride.

Through this partnership, Xerox will expand its mobile solutions and mobile app development capabilities. As customers are realizing the benefits that a mobile solution can offer, Xerox is poised to deliver.

“This new partnership will help us to deliver innovative and relevant mobile solutions to our customers, so they can optimize their document and workflow processes,” says Charles Chang, General Manager, Business Partner Alliance and Solutions, Xerox Canada.

“The great thing about going mobile is that our customers can realize dramatic benefits without being forced to reinvent how they do business,” says McBride. “Mobile solutions can simply replace manual data entry methods by collecting the same information on a phone or tablet instead of a paper form”.

Besides cost and efficiency benefits, digital data collection offers many advantages over paper form collection:

– Facilitate dynamic 2-way workflow process between office administrators and field workers.

– Collect pictures and e-signature approvals.

– Work with customers in real-time to create estimates using up-to-date price lists and catalogues.

– Geo-locate staff or equipment at any time.

Mobile-First Actionable Data (M-FAD) solutions deliver meaningful data to decision makers. From day-to-day project details to C-level strategic directives, in order to be actionable, data must be accessible, relevant and timely. M-FAD solutions make relevant data available and accessible quickly through effective data management and integration with other business systems, including Xerox DocuShare.

For more information visit To contact directly, email
or call 800-299-0623.

About Weever Apps

Weever Apps is an innovative mobile solutions firm headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Weever Apps specializes in Mobile-First Actionable Data solutions that use mobile apps, data management and integrations to dramatically streamline workflows and communications. Weever Apps uses a consultative process to understand client challenges and design unique, cost-efficient solutions that overcome them.

Media Relations Contact
Steve McBride
Weever Apps
Telephone: 800-299-0623


REfficient is Finalist for Prestigious QuantumShift Contest



Hamilton, Ontario – February 9, 2015 – REfficient’s Stephanie McLarty has been selected as one of five finalists for the QuantumShift young entrepreneur competition. The KPMG and Globe & Mail-sponsored program is a rigorous development course for Canada’s most promising entrepreneurs and includes one spot for an entrepreneur under 35.

Stephanie McLarty is CEO of REfficient, a Canadian-based company that sells refurbished, used, and surplus new telecom products, including digital cables boxes, modems, network equipment and more. The company has become the go-to for Canadian and other telecom service providers to find quality equipment at affordable prices. REfficient has customers in nine Canadian provinces, three Canadian territories and 12 other countries.

QuantumShift is a five day developmental experience for 40 of Canada’s most promising business leaders. The program explores topics that matter to high growth entrepreneurs, such as Leadership, Finance, Strategy and Human Resources. At the same time, the participants become a part of an ongoing elite peer-to-peer network. In fact, many of the QuantumShift are recognizable businesses and leaders in Canada.

The QuantumShift contest holds one spot free-of-charge for an up-and-coming entrepreneur under the age of 35. While regular participants must have revenues of at least $10 million, the young entrepreneurs must have revenues of at least $500,000. The finalists were nominated by their KPMG office and were chosen based on their written submission and video. The winner is decided by number of votes.

McLarty said the prestigious opportunity would be helpful to propel REfficient in its next phase. “I started the company almost five years ago and we’ve grown tremendously. QuantumShift could help us get to the next level.” She also noted the opportunity to work and learn alongside a leading peer group would be incredible, “When you look at who has participated in the past, it would be an honour in itself to be counted among Canada’s business elite. Yet ultimately, the winner is decided on the number of votes.”

To view the video and vote for McLarty, go to!/entry/8420010.

About REfficient

REfficient’s transactional marketplace is built on a “triple-win” model, providing large telecom and AV
companies a trusted and efficient solution for deriving value from surplus inventory, while offering buyers reliable, often new equipment at savings of 20-50% over traditional sources. This innovative new
green model benefits everyone by reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency. You can follow
REfficient at @REfficient and

Bruno Venesia
905-544-5000 x5011

REfficient launches Defang cables and power supplies to Canadian market

refficientlogoHamilton, Ontario – December 4, 2014 – REfficient is now a distributor of Defang power cables and fiber cables, allowing Canadian telecom companies to access the same popular solution that many of the large US service providers procure. The cables have shown to save 20-40% off of traditional buying sources without sacrificing quality or environmental integrity.

REfficient is a Canadian-based company that sells refurbished, used, and surplus new telecom products, including digital cables boxes, modems, network equipment and more. The company has become the go-to for Canadian and other telecom service providers to find quality equipment at affordable prices. REfficient has customers in nine Canadian provinces, three Canadian territories and 11 other countries.

Defang is REfficient’s first line of new products with environmental designations to be introduced. Defang is a Chinese manufacturer that supplies a range of power supply solutions, including power cords, power supplies (for DCT, DCX and other cable boxes), HDMI cables, AV cables, fiber cables, and more. All of Defang’s products are 100% compliant with the Reduction of Harmful Substances (RoHS) standards and all facilities are ISO9001 certified.

REfficient will carry popular products in stock at their warehouse, and bring in other products as needed. “This move is a response to REfficient’s customers regularly requesting cable and power supply solutions,” says REfficient CEO Stephanie McLarty. “These products do not become surplus to companies very often, so they are difficult to find through asset recovery. Yet they are necessary to operate many refurbished and used equipment.”

McLarty says a large part of the decision to carry these products was alignment of their companies, “We chose to work with Defang because they are similar to REfficient in philosophy. Like us, they focus on quality, affordability and a superior customer experience. Customers love their product, and we are excited to give this opportunity to our customers.”

To learn more about these Defang products, please contact Bruno Venesia, REfficient’s Director of Sales, at 905-544-5000 x5011 or

About REfficient

REfficient’s transactional marketplace is built on a “triple-win” model, providing large telecom and AV companies a trusted and efficient solution for deriving value from surplus inventory, while offering buyers reliable, often new equipment at savings of 20-50% over traditional sources. This innovative new green model benefits everyone by reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency. You can follow REfficient at @REfficient and

Bruno Venesia
905-544-5000 x5011


VIZIYA in Deloitte Fast 50 for third year straight



November 13th – Hamilton, Ontario

VIZIYA ranks number 17 in the Deloitte Fastest Growing Technology Companies, marking the third straight year VIZIYA has received the honour

“Fast 50 companies are entrepreneurial, innovate and demonstrate leadership,” said Pascal Lamoureux, Partner and Leader for Deloitte’s Fast 50 program. “Their commitment and achievements are critical to the growth of the Canadian technology sector.”

To qualify for the Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM ranking, companies must have been in business for at least five years, have revenues of at least $5 million, be headquartered in Canada, own proprietary technology, and conduct research and development activities in Canada. A panel of industry experts evaluate and judge companies based on four key criteria: competitive advantage; size, growth, and market attractiveness; management effectiveness and organization; and financial performance.

VIZIYA’s Previous Rankings

2012 – 4th
2013 – 20th

About the Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM program is Canada’s pre-eminent technology awards program. Celebrating business growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, the program features four distinct categories including the Technology Fast 50TM Ranking, Companies-to-Watch Awards (early-stage Canadian tech companies in business less than five years, with the potential to be a future Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM candidate) and the Leadership Awards (companies that demonstrate technological leadership and innovation within the industry.)

Ranggo captures grand prize at Lion’s Lair 2014



Hamilton, Ontario October 6th, 2014: On Thursday October 2nd, Ranggo was named the grand prize winner in Lion’s Lair 2014. In its fourth year, Lion’s Lair is an annual business competition presented by The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Factory. After filtering down all business plans submitted by more than 70 companies, ten companies were selected as finalists. The 10 finalists were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of Hamilton’s top business experts, the “Lions”, for a chance to win over $160,000 in cash and in-kind resources. The sold-out final gala event held on Thursday night at Carmen’s brought together the entrepreneurship and innovation community in Hamilton, Ontario.

Incorporated in Ontario in March 2014, this is not the first business recognition for Ranggo. Earlier in April 2014, Ranggo was again a Top 5 finalist in Halton’s region own business competition, The Python’s Pit. Ranggo was one of 3 companies to receive follow up meetings from the investors, “The Python’s”. During the very short period since its inception,Ranggo has partnered and piloted in multiple local restaurants and food festivals and events in the Hamilton and Burlington area.

Ranggo is an all-in-one feedback, customer retention and acquisition service for restaurants. “We all love to eat and we use our smartphones all the time, especially while sitting on our tables at the restaurant”, said Peter Basl, CEO. “Ranggo allows restaurants to leverage this opportunity by collecting valuable real-time feedback from their patrons and use this feedback to attract more customers through online and social network venues.” Ranggo is collecting feedback down to the menu item level and its innovative business model relies on rewarding its users with instant restaurant coupons and savings. “The overall process brings the customers to the restaurant more often and through the app’s food search engine, new customers can easily find those restaurants serving the best dishes they are craving,” said Noha Abdelaziz, COO. “Ranggo simply creates a win-win situation for both the restaurants and the customers.” Ranggo is a subscription based service for restaurants and its app is free to download for users. “Since July 2014, we have been piloting the service in 10 restaurants in Hamilton and Burlington. The results are amazing. In such a short period of time, Ranggo was able to engage with diners and collect more feedback than any existing service in the market today,” said Mo. Shahin, CTO.

In the Lion’s Lair competition, Ranggo was awarded a total of $25,000 in cash and in-kind services from KPMG, VA Partners and Albanese Branding valued at $27,500. The prize will be used to speed up customer acquisition process as well as further application development. During the Lion’s Lair Gala, the Lions announced the win stating the main reasons behind their choice to be: Ranggo’s strong team, solid business model as well as its potential of global scalability.

Ranggo’s cofounders are Peter Basl, Noha Abdelaziz and Mo Shahin. They are all McMaster University alumni with postgraduate degrees. Peter holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University and currently finishing his Masters in Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation at McMaster too. Noha holds a Masters in Civil Engineering from McMaster, while Mo is a serial entrepreneur who has graduated from McMaster’s Masters of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2008. The team collectively has more than 20 years of experience both on the technical and business levels having worked in leading industry positions as well as co-founded multiple businesses in the past.


For more information on Ranggo, visit

For more information on the Lion’s Lair visit

Ranggo pitch in 1 min:

Contact Details:

Interview with Roomer creator Simar Singh



I remember in my undergraduate days that the libraries weren’t always the best place to study. There was the noise – Mills Library was known (affectionately?) as “Club Mills”, but there was also the lack of seats. Often times you were better off finding an empty classroom. Which was great when you found one, but time consuming.

That’s why I found this new app called Roomer by Simar Singh (@simarr_) to be a pretty neat idea. Check out the interview with Simar below:


simarTell me about yourself.

I’m currently a third year computer science student at McMaster University. I’m passionate about all aspects of software development. I have been working on projects for as long as I can remember, and I aim to build projects that make people’s lives easier.


What is Roomer?

Roomer is an android app that helps students find study space on campus. Roomer shows you all of the empty classrooms and lecture halls.


Why did you decide to create Roomer?

Many students have experienced difficulty finding a good study space on campus. Libraries are often crowded, especially during exam period. Group study rooms are frequently in short supply. Roomer aims to solve this problem. Roomer shows the user which classrooms and lecture halls are currently empty on campus. They can then choose their favorite spot to work on their assignments, hold group meetings or practice presentations.




How does Roomer know which rooms on campus are available?

Roomer’s server side algorithms uses the master timetable system provided by universities to figure out what rooms are currently not being used.


How has the response to Roomer been thus far?

Roomer has already been downloaded 350+ times in its first week of launch.




Will you try to make money off of Roomer? How?

Roomer was built to enrich students’ campus experience. Roomer will be for free for the foreseeable feature.


What tools did you use to build Roomer?

The backend was built with Python and the Android app was written in Java. I used Amazon Web Services to host Roomer’s backend.




What are your future plans for Roomer?

Roomer is currently available for McMaster University, University of Waterloo, and Western University. I plan on expanding Roomer’s service to more Universities across Ontario.


Do you have any advice for students planning to release apps?

Focus on user experience and what problems your app will help its users solve.


Try out Roomer on Android today!



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